Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations has called for urgent and decisive action on climate change once again as this time the temperatures of July shatter more records. This alarming news is proof of a significant shift into an alarming “era of global boiling.”
The northern hemisphere faced a blistering heatwave this year eventually triggering devastating wildfires in countries like Greece, Italy, and Algeria.
“For the entire planet, it is a disaster,” he said, noting that “short of a mini-Ice Age over the next days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board.”
“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning. The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.”
ERA5 data shows that the first three weeks of July have been the hottest three-week period on record and July is on its way to record-beating July 2019 and becoming the record-hottest month.
Biden, who said the heat was the “number one weather-related killer” in the US, causing 600 deaths every year, announced moves to strengthen heat-related safety rules for workers, especially those laboring outdoors.
“The air is unbreathable. The heat is unbearable. And the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable,” said Guterres, Portugal’s former prime minister.
“Leaders must lead,” he said. “No more hesitancy. No more excuses. No more waiting for others to move first.”
Ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit, he is set to host in September, Guterres called on developed countries to commit to achieving carbon neutrality as close to 2040 as possible, and for emerging economies as close as possible to 2050.
The “destruction” unleashed by humanity “must not inspire despair, but action”, he said, warning that to prevent the worst outcomes humanity “must turn a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambition”.
In Italy, for instance, two people tragically lost their lives due to a wildfire that temporarily shut down an international airport in Palermo. In Algeria, at least 34 people died, and thousands were evacuated.
Greece faced a catastrophic wildfire situation on the island of Rhodes, necessitating the largest evacuation in the nation’s history, displacing over 20,000 residents and tourists from their homes and hotels. Such events have very clearly highlighted the urgency of combating climate change and its far-reaching consequences even though we are already very late in doing so.
As the world witnesses an increasing frequency of extreme weather events, the call to collectively address the climate crisis becomes more pressing than ever.